Looking at My Manuscript Like a Real Manuscript

30 12 2011



One of said avatars, Photoshop being my helper/creator/assister.



So for the past few months, I’ve been writing a YA manuscript. The story is titled Building Houses and in a nutshell it’s a girl’s path to growing up in a small town while she tries to figure out if a girl is a fraud. I’ve spent hours and hours writing it,  I’ve made countless promotional graphics and covers for it. I love the story. I love the characters and the setting and the plot and the foreshadowing and the mystery and everything.
But there’s something missing. I look at other writers, their manuscripts in progress. Sometimes I get envious, of course, and sometimes I feel like my manuscript isn’t a real manuscript. And I don’t understand or know why. And now I finally understand. I wasn’t looking at my manuscript the right way. I was just looking at it in a carefree way.
I was serious about the manuscript, but I wasn’t looking at it seriously.
I cared about the story, but I didn’t look at it seriously. I didn’t look at it in my mind as a real novel, though its word count is officially a novel now (50,000 words is the guideline for a novel and BH is incomplete at 53,000 words).
I needed to look at it seriously. If I didn’t look at it seriously, editing would be harder. Rewriting would be harder. Even just continuing, when I could say ehh, forget this, and move on — that would be harder. I needed to have a seriousness to my manuscript. I needed to understand that yes, writing is hard, and yes, that I needed to be serious about my writing. If I wasn’t serious, I wouldn’t be confident in my writing. Being confident in your writing is key. People have blogged about it before, but you need to love what you write.
And you need to be serious about it.
Have fun times — like sitting in fields of flowers
That’s not to say that everyone needs to be serious about the writing. The truth is, and this was brought up in this week’s #yalitchat, that some writers write just for the hobby. If you’re a hobby writer, or you have no intention of getting published or getting an agent or writing a query letter, that’s fine too. There’s nothing wrong with that. Having fun with your writing is great. Have all the fun you want! You don’t need to be serious all the time. And if you’re a serious writer, make fun times for yourself, too.
But if you’re a serious writer, and you do want to be published, find an agent, be published anywhere, you need to be serious.
If you’re a serious writer, you need to be serious about your writing.
If you’re not, you won’t get anywhere. Look at your manuscript seriously. Look at it like a real manuscript. That’s what I do now; I look at my manuscript like a real manuscript. And if you want to be a serious writer, look at your manuscript(s) seriously.
It’ll get you further.



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